A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Some commentators say that the parting of the Red Sea (described in today’s first readingExodus 14:21-15:1) is just a myth. (Some of these commentators will quickly make the point that the symbolism is nonetheless meaningful.)

Other commentators say that it is based on a true story involving a freak natural event (e.g., a large lake temporarily drained by an earthquake): a story that has been greatly embellished over the millennia. (Some of these commentators will take pains to make the point that both the original event and the subsequent embellishments are nonetheless meaningful.)

Still other commentators say that it happened exactly the way the Bible says it happened. (Some of these commentators will argue so much about historicity that they completely neglect the point that the event and its details are meaningful.)

There are ironies in all of the above positions: on the one hand, extolling the meaningfulness of what they consider at least a partial falsehood; on the other hand, extolling the reality of something with no known parallel in the real world today.

Speaking of ironies: Atheists, who worship only the god that is their personal gray matter, reject all of these positions as various forms of window dressing on clerical propaganda, even as they churn out propaganda for their own ideology that, for all of its rationalistic façade, is itself perversely fideistic and falls short in nearly every objective measure.

The only real answer is a rational fideism, relying upon God’s natural gift of reason and his supernatural gift of faith. The only satisfactory approach begins and ends neither in a soulless demythologizing nor in a mindless literalism, but in the gift of faith given by the ineffable God who works wonders in the real world as he wills and in his gift of a personal and communal relationship with himself.

Could God have parted the Red Sea? Of course. Moreover, the tangible reality of salvation history is a critical part of our faith. Our focus, however, must be on our relationship with God – your relationship with God, my relationship with God, our relationship with God - in every level of reality.

Thanks be to thee,
Lord God of hosts
Thou broughtest forth
with mighty hand
Israel safe from the sea.